Situated on the Indian Ocean coast between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, the Margaret River Region has gained a reputation one of Australia’s premium wine regions after the first commercial grapevines were planted by Dr Tom Cullity at Vasse Felix in 1967.
The Margaret River Region comprises a significant variety of wine producers, which range from small boutique producers to quite large operations. There are more than 200 producers of wine in the Margaret River Region, approximately 120 of which have cellar doors open for tastings. Around 50 of these cellar doors have restaurants and cafes attached.
On average, around 35,000 tonnes of grapes are crushed in the region annually, with Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon being the most widely harvested varieties at 7,500 and 6,500 tonnes respectively (source – the Margaret River Wine Association, 2012 vintage). The region contributes just three percent of the total Australian grape production, but commands as much as twenty percent of the Australian premium wine market.
The region enjoys a mild climate with a strong Mediterranean influence and significant winter rainfall. Summer days are generally warm to hot and are usually tempered by a cool afternoon sea breeze. The absence of generally extreme summer and winter temperatures provides ideal growing conditions.
The principal soil type is predominantly gravelly, sandy loam that has formed directly from the underlying granite and gneissic rock and is highly permeable when moist. Humidity levels are ideal during the growing period and the combination of climate, soil and viticulture practices leads to consistently high quality fruit of intense flavour. Consequently, annual vintages continue to exceed expectations and reinforce Margaret River’s reputation as a premium wine-producing region.
The principal grape varieties include Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and more recently other varieties including Chenin Blanc, Verdelho, Tempranillo and Sangiovese.
Find out more